Calcutta: It’s only natural for the India U-22 boys to be high on confidence after their stunning 5-2 win against Lebanon, in the AFC Under-22 football Championship, on Saturday. But their head coach Arthur Papas preferred to stay cautious on the eve of their crucial match against Iraq.
“We need to be cautious. Iraq are one of the strongest teams in Asia. It’s true we will take a lot of confidence from our match against Lebanon. But against Iraq, it will be a different match altogether,” he said.
Jeje Lalpekhlua and debutant Alwyn George scored two goals each while Manandeep Singh found the net once against Lebanon. The best part of the squad is that everyone is willing to back each other.
Against Lebanon, there were three who made their international debut — Shaiju Mon, Ganeshan and George. Alwyn went on to score twice while Shaiju and Ganeshan played with lot of aggression.
The junior boys are also getting used to Papas’ style of play. “We stayed a bit sceptical about the style at the outset. But we are enjoying it at the moment,” Lalrindika Ralte said.
Jeje Lalpekhlua added: “We are a confident lot now but we need to be a more complete lot.”
Iraq were clinical in their display when they brushed aside Turmkenistan 4-0 in their first match of the Championship.
Papas said his team will look for a win at any cost.